Stock Analysis

A Look At The Intrinsic Value Of Enerplus Corporation (TSE:ERF)

TSX:ERF
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Key Insights

  • The projected fair value for Enerplus is CA$25.94 based on 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity
  • With CA$21.43 share price, Enerplus appears to be trading close to its estimated fair value
  • Analyst price target for ERF is US$24.90 which is 4.0% below our fair value estimate

Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Enerplus Corporation (TSE:ERF) as an investment opportunity by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Believe it or not, it's not too difficult to follow, as you'll see from our example!

Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.

Check out our latest analysis for Enerplus

The Method

We use what is known as a 2-stage model, which simply means we have two different periods of growth rates for the company's cash flows. Generally the first stage is higher growth, and the second stage is a lower growth phase. To start off with, we need to estimate the next ten years of cash flows. Where possible we use analyst estimates, but when these aren't available we extrapolate the previous free cash flow (FCF) from the last estimate or reported value. We assume companies with shrinking free cash flow will slow their rate of shrinkage, and that companies with growing free cash flow will see their growth rate slow, over this period. We do this to reflect that growth tends to slow more in the early years than it does in later years.

A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, and so the sum of these future cash flows is then discounted to today's value:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate

2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032 2033
Levered FCF ($, Millions) US$414.1m US$305.0m US$349.0m US$330.8m US$320.6m US$315.3m US$313.4m US$313.8m US$315.8m US$318.8m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x8 Analyst x1 Analyst x1 Est @ -5.20% Est @ -3.10% Est @ -1.63% Est @ -0.60% Est @ 0.12% Est @ 0.62% Est @ 0.98%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 8.8% US$381 US$258 US$271 US$236 US$210 US$190 US$174 US$160 US$148 US$137

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$2.2b

The second stage is also known as Terminal Value, this is the business's cash flow after the first stage. For a number of reasons a very conservative growth rate is used that cannot exceed that of a country's GDP growth. In this case we have used the 5-year average of the 10-year government bond yield (1.8%) to estimate future growth. In the same way as with the 10-year 'growth' period, we discount future cash flows to today's value, using a cost of equity of 8.8%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2033 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$319m× (1 + 1.8%) ÷ (8.8%– 1.8%) = US$4.6b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$4.6b÷ ( 1 + 8.8%)10= US$2.0b

The total value is the sum of cash flows for the next ten years plus the discounted terminal value, which results in the Total Equity Value, which in this case is US$4.2b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of CA$21.4, the company appears about fair value at a 17% discount to where the stock price trades currently. The assumptions in any calculation have a big impact on the valuation, so it is better to view this as a rough estimate, not precise down to the last cent.

dcf
TSX:ERF Discounted Cash Flow July 25th 2023

Important Assumptions

Now the most important inputs to a discounted cash flow are the discount rate, and of course, the actual cash flows. If you don't agree with these result, have a go at the calculation yourself and play with the assumptions. The DCF also does not consider the possible cyclicality of an industry, or a company's future capital requirements, so it does not give a full picture of a company's potential performance. Given that we are looking at Enerplus as potential shareholders, the cost of equity is used as the discount rate, rather than the cost of capital (or weighted average cost of capital, WACC) which accounts for debt. In this calculation we've used 8.8%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.177. Beta is a measure of a stock's volatility, compared to the market as a whole. We get our beta from the industry average beta of globally comparable companies, with an imposed limit between 0.8 and 2.0, which is a reasonable range for a stable business.

SWOT Analysis for Enerplus

Strength
  • Earnings growth over the past year exceeded the industry.
  • Debt is not viewed as a risk.
  • Dividends are covered by earnings and cash flows.
Weakness
  • Dividend is low compared to the top 25% of dividend payers in the Oil and Gas market.
Opportunity
  • Good value based on P/E ratio and estimated fair value.
Threat
  • Annual earnings are forecast to decline for the next 2 years.

Next Steps:

Whilst important, the DCF calculation ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. Instead the best use for a DCF model is to test certain assumptions and theories to see if they would lead to the company being undervalued or overvalued. For instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. For Enerplus, we've compiled three additional factors you should further examine:

  1. Risks: For example, we've discovered 2 warning signs for Enerplus that you should be aware of before investing here.
  2. Future Earnings: How does ERF's growth rate compare to its peers and the wider market? Dig deeper into the analyst consensus number for the upcoming years by interacting with our free analyst growth expectation chart.
  3. Other Solid Businesses: Low debt, high returns on equity and good past performance are fundamental to a strong business. Why not explore our interactive list of stocks with solid business fundamentals to see if there are other companies you may not have considered!

PS. Simply Wall St updates its DCF calculation for every Canadian stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock just search here.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Enerplus is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.